A couple weeks back I was considering writing a piece defending, praising even, Warren Moon and Daryl Johnston. Both Moon and Johnston are better this season. Better. Both are likable and bumbling and down home and incompetent enough that you kind of root for them like you root for any underdog.
Moon is making fewer "Earl Cooper" slip ups this preseason. He has sounded impatient with Curt Menefee at times, as if the trained broadcaster is the weak link. That's intolerable on Menefee's part. Moon retired into the position of broadcasting; Menefee is theoretically the best of the best. He is a professional broadcaster and among the most successful professional broadcasters in America. Moon is a Hall of Fame enshrined quarterback. He gets by on reputation alone.
I did not write that post because why bother? At best it would be halfhearted. At best it would be a forum for others to rag on Moon and Menefee and Johnston's glaring incompetence. Why bother?
In that sense, there is not much more to say on the subject. Broadcasters routinely misapply credit or blame and mess up names and prattle to the point of being a distraction, but the subject is dead because the worst are not much worse than the normal, and when the normal is terrifically bad, terrifically bad is the standard. Is Menefee much worse than Joe Buck? Is Joe Buck not paid millions for whatever it is he does? Is there reason to remind you that TV is crappy, life unfair and money changed hands among the moneyed?
Which is why I implore you to find a broadcast with Mike Mayock in the booth. He worked the Vikings half of the broadcast and I downloaded a copy just to hear him color commentate. He is taking on the same gig for Notre Dame this fall and though the Irish play curdlingly bad football, find ways to tune in. Yes, the cult of Mayock grows tiresome, and, no, everything he says isn't spun gold. Eventually, if he continues as a draft expert, he will amass a list of famous failures and be lumped in with Kiper and McShay.
It doesn't matter.
Mayock is knowledgeable, incisive and able to communicate complex ideas in simple language. I may not need the Cover 3 explained to me, but when a commentator can apply the concept of a Cover 3 onto an actual play, describe the coverage's strengths and weaknesses and different players' assignments and responsibilities in real time, it enriches the broadcast.
Aye, enriches the broadcast--isn't that what commentators are supposed to do?
Supporting Mayock is supporting intelligent analysis. Mayock is such an outlier among his peers that you can understand how people kind of flip out about him. He is to commentating what The Simpsons was to sitcoms: proof that something meaningful and intelligent can be done within a form that has grown stale, stupefying and stultifying.